Michele Maia (r) on his way to his silver medal in the 2007 BJJ Mundials.
Every Monday I head to open mat at Fabio Santos’ academy here in San Diego. From 6pm to 8pm, it’s laid back, casual rolling with friends where we can try to work in some of the moves and techniques we’ve been shown in the regular classes. The group of guys is generally the same week to week and includes BJJ folks from white to black belt.
Almost immediately upon arrival there was a sense that something was different, as there were some guys hanging around who were new faces. Sometimes you can tell when a guy is probably an advanced BJJ guy even before they’ve put on their gi. That was definitely the case on Monday when it turned out to be a group from Porto Alegre, Brazil that included a diesel purple belt, a multi-stripe black belt, and none other than Michel Maia, the man who captured second place in the black belt lightweight division in 2007 after losing only to Alliance’s Lucas Lepri!
About fifteen minutes later another high-end black belt from out of town, Mike Fowler arrived to get some sparring in before the Mundials this weekend. At his side was another black belt from Guam named Steve.
So will someone please remind me next time around when the Mundials or Pan-Ams are on the way that I should always have my camera with me?